CIA Director William Burns Claims Putin Isn’t Crazy, Just Extremely Difficult To Deal With

There has been speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin might be having mental health issues in light of his decision to invade Ukraine on Feb. 24. Central Intelligence Agency director Williams Burns says, no, Putin’s not crazy, just extremely difficult to deal with.

On March 8, Burns revealed that Putin planned to capture Ukraine’s capital Kyiv within two days of launching his invasion with “no regard for civilian casualties,” Daily Mail reported.

Putin’s increasing isolation and insulation from conflicting views make him “extremely difficult to deal with,” Burns said during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on threats to the U.S.

Some Putin insiders say his mental health has failed during the pandemic, with the stressors of isolation. 

Taking control of Ukraine has long been on Putin’s agenda.

“You know, this is a matter of deep personal conviction for him,” Burns said. “He’s been stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years.”

The U.S. intelligence community estimates that between 2,000 and 4,000 Russian troops have been killed.

Putin seems to have underestimated Ukraine’s fighting ability and the global response. 

“Instead of seizing Kyiv within the first two days of the campaign, which was what his plan was premised upon, after nearly two weeks, they still have not been able to fully encircle the city,” said Burns. 

Still, the world is speculating about Putin’s mental state. “Glimpses into Putin’s inner sanctum offer horrifying clues about the state of mind of the man with his finger on the nuclear button,” wrote A. Craig Copetas, a former Moscow correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and author of “Bear Hunting with the Politburo,” in a report for The Daily Beast.

Some say he is making his decisions based on emotions rather than strategy. “Putin is increasingly operating emotionally,” said Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Europe and Russia on the U.S. National Security Council during the Trump administration, according to Politico. “It’s reestablishing dominance over what Russia sees as the Russian Imperium. We’re treading back through old historical patterns that we said that we would never permit to happen again.”

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Famed scholar Nassim Taleb, who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, said Putin is crazy. In February, Taleb tweeted, “I hear the statement ‘Putin is crazy, if he is provoked by a NATO intervention he will use nuclear weapons.’ Well, if Putin is crazy (he is), he will use nuclear weapons anyway. It is not NATO that would tip him, but frustration (and humiliation).”

Putin could also be acting crazy as a scare tactic — a ploy called the Madman Political Theory that other world leaders including U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Donald Trump have been accused of using. 

Could Putin want to be viewed as insane because it will help him achieve his goals? No one knows for sure.

However, it does seem certain, according to some sources, that Russia doesn’t want a confrontation with the U.S.

“Russia seeks an accommodation with the United States on mutual non-interference in both countries’ domestic affairs and U.S. recognition of Russia’s claimed sphere of influence over much of the former Soviet Union,” according to documents from an annual unclassified threat assessment completed in late January and published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on March 8. 

Photos: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tears up as he reacts at a massive rally of supporters at Manezh square outside Kremlin, Moscow, March 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)/Photo: Putin arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Dec. 9, 2019 (Ian Langsdon/Pool Photo via AP, File)

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